WRESTLING: Cass Lake preps for 13th annual Big Bear Tournament
CASS LAKE -- Thirty-seven teams are set to meet up in Cass Lake Friday for the 13th annual Big Bear wrestling tournament, including Detroit Lakes and United Clay Becker.
CASS LAKE - Thirty-seven teams are set to meet up in Cass Lake Friday for the 13th annual Big Bear wrestling tournament, including Detroit Lakes and United Clay Becker.
The Big Bear is the second biggest high school wrestling tournament in the state and will feature some of the best wrestling Minnesota has to offer.
“This is a chance to see some teams we don’t normally get to wrestle,” said Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena head coach Jay Reiplinger. “It’s very important to wrestle some tough competition around the state.”
Of the 37 teams participating, two are ranked in the state (Class A No. 10 Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale and Class AAA No. 10 Willmar), seven (including BCLB) are honorable mentions and 61 individual wrestlers are ranked.
“It’s a great measuring tool for the teams and individuals,” Cass Lake athletic director Pat Rendle said.
Among the 61 individual ranked wrestlers competing in the tournament are Class A No. 2 Andrew Nissen (106 pounds), No. 7 Cooper Jedlicka (182) and No. 6 Tanner Templin (220) of BCLB and Class AAA No. 3 Brian Maas (120 pounds) and No. 9 Brody Wilander (220) of Bemidji High School.
“It is a great-run tournament,” Reiplinger said. “It runs two days (Dec. 19-20) and allows wrestlers to get in anywhere from 4-10 matches.”
The tournament has been able to grow over the years thanks in large part to the citizens of Cass Lake.
Rendle has nearly 75 Cass Lake volunteers who will help put the tournament on, and that doesn’t include the students and advisors whose groups will be helping with the event while also making money by selling food and goods around the gym.
“It’s a feature for the town,” Rendle said. “People often drive through Cass Lake, but they don’t get see the great facilities we have. This is a huge event and every person comes in and works it in some capacity or another.”
Mike Hanson and Steve Bechtold are the tournament directors. Hanson is one of two men who started the tournament back in 2002.
Rendle said he would be remiss if he didn’t mention Hanson, Bechtold, Ron Milbrandt, Joe Cherney, Dominic Crump and Martha Hanson, who make sure the event goes on every year.
“This is a monster event and they are crucial,” Rendle said.
Wrestling will start at 11 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday at the Cass Lake-Bena middle school and high school gyms.